It’s not because I’m unhappily married (my husband and I are two and a half years strong!) but because I finally got closure on how to use social media to my advantage, thanks to a random coffee “date” with the CEO of Louisville-based social media consulting firm, Social Media Explorer.
I’m fairly Facebook-literate, and tend to spend copious amounts of time on Pinterest (frankly, it’s ruining my life). But between Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Etsy, Google Plus, eHarmony, Classmates, Trip Advisor, Flickr – and don’t even get me started on blogging – I am flat out exhausted with trying to keep up with the latest form of social media interaction.
Jason Falls understands my frustration and claims that the reason for my lack of enthusiasm toward these social outlets is simply my lack of knowledge.
Falls believes understanding how social media works is pivotal in making it work to your advantage. He should know: He is currently number 7 on the Forbes Magazine list of “Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.”
When Falls broke away from Doe-Anderson in 2009 to spearhead his consulting firm, Social Media Explorer, he was already aware of how much more encompassing and pivotal the social media scene was going to become.
Today, with his business partner, Aaron Marshall, they educate clients on aspects of social media marketing and digital marketing. This involves huge commitment, as Social Media Explorer currently conducts seminars and lectures across the country.
Falls also is considered a social media guru on the international level, forging relationships with some of the biggest networking sites.
Simply put, the Pikeville-born and Louisville-bred homebody is a big deal.
We sat down with Falls recently to see if some of his saviness could rub off on us.
What is one of the biggest mistakes that people make in using social media?
Beer pong pictures on Facebook. What possesses people to do that? No pictures have ever been deleted from Facebook, so just be smart. You don’t go to a job interview and tell them what you like to drink, so why would you put that in a virtual forum where there’s a permanent record of things you’ve done? It’s public; you need to treat it that way. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.
What are some tangible ways people can use social media to land a job?
Find good contacts around the topic you want a job in. If you’re into life insurance, find good resources about life insurance, share good articles and connect with people that are passionate about the same things you are. The more visible you are within the industry you want to be, sharing good content and also interacting with people, the more credible you’re going to look.
What’s an outlet that you strongly feel more people should take advantage of?
Blogging. Blogging is one of the most powerful mechanisms. It shows off your expertise and it puts out content for the search engines to find. It’s essentially a very easy way to stay relevant while simply being self-absorbed in your interest. And then network from there – if you can have Dave Ramsay link to your finance blog, you have tons more readership. So write smart stuff. Be consistent. Make sure that everybody in your field knows who you are! Be that obnoxious guy that shows up everywhere. When I first started, I went to all the conferences and took leaders out for a beer just to connect with them. Who’s going to refuse a free drink?
What social media do you find surprising?
Pinterest. Who saw that one becoming so big? But how cool that someone can literally put up a picture and in seconds it’s transferred to a database connecting millions of completely different readers. I think in Pinterest specifically there’s going to be more of a social network in which people pin things that they want to buy. But if you’re a marketer, especially a retailer, you can pin up pictures of your product, which will link back to where they can buy them and then you can use coupons or promotions to entice the customer. A company that will benefit from using it is one that’s extremely visually driven. If you have a product that connects your business with a photograph, then that’s the way to go.
What can I do to make my blog, my Twitter account, my Etsy shop, etc. more influential?
Read, read, read! I cannot emphasize this enough. Read magazines, newspapers – anything to get specific information in your field. But be sure to have a balanced diet of things you’re reading. Read something “smart” like The New York Times instead of Us Weekly. There’s a reason people plateau – there’s no new ideas coming from them. Stay on top of what’s current and what’s coming and make the information your put out something better.
What can we expect in the near future from Social Media Explorer?
We’re always doing our client consulting, whether it is in person, conference calls or virtual webinar-type things. But something exciting that’s getting ready to take off is our “Explore” consulting event that we’re holding in five different cities: Dallas, Nashville, Minneapolis, Irvine and Portland. We’d love to do one in Louisville, but there’s not a reputation for that kind of event here, so we’re trying to build that reputation in order to make Louisville the hub for this. In the extremely near future, I’m going to drink a ton of coffee.
Check out Social Media Explorer at www.socialmediaexplorer.com. Follow @JasonFalls on Twitter.